Sinking houses point to sloppy planning, poor construction

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Ho Chi Minh City's Department of Construction has ordered authorities in 24 districts to urgently inspect constructions of residential works over concerns about their construction quality.


The concerns came to the fore after a five-storied house in the center of Hanoi collapsed completely on March 30, and another house, also five-storied and in the capital, was found sinking and at a high risk of collapsing just a couple of days later.


In fact, investigations by Thanh Nien reporters found that many multi-storied houses across the southern city are also facing the same risks.


For example, a house on Street 26A in District 6 is sinking, with a gap of 45 centimeters from an adjacent house. Many houses in the locality are in the same condition.


Nguyen Van Cu, who has conducted many anti-sinking works locally, said due to weak soil and frequent flooding, sinking houses can be found on almost local streets.


At least hundreds of houses are sinking in the area, Cu said.


A similar situation was also found in Binh Thanh District, where three adjacent houses on Dinh Bo Linh Street are sinking in, what is supposed to be a domino effect.


Phan Phung Sanh, deputy chairman of the HCMC Association of Construction Sciences and Techniques, attributed the sinking problems to mistakes in design and construction which were caused by the absence of proper initial surveys, including geological studies.


"In many cases, investors don't want to spend money on surveys and treatments to foundation, but they forget that when their houses sink it will cost them much more," he said.


Meanwhile, Nguyen Van Hiep, vice director of HCMC Department of Construction, said investors and contractors of sinking houses had violated regulations on construction work quality management.


However, related agencies couldn't fine them because the sinking started many years ago, and it was regulated that such violations have to be dealt with within two years, according to Hiep.

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